Personal Injury Firm in Los Angeles
Drunk driving is one of those things that just speaks for itself. Any conversation on the subject will necessarily evoke strong reactions and heated emotions. To willingly choose to operate a vehicle while impaired by alcohol is reckless and a serious criminal offense. Along with speeding, driving while under the influence of alcohol is particularly destructive and very dangerous. Being convicted of a DUI charge will often carry punitive damages as well. Punitive damages are damages which are awarded on top of the normal damages for medical expenses and property loss. Punitive damages are intended to punish the offender and make an example of him or her.
Drunk driving is particularly notorious for killing thousands of innocent people every year. Those who do survive these horrific crashes are often left to deal with permanent disabilities, including brain damage and spinal cord injuries. The cost of medical care associated with treating car accident injuries as a result of an alcohol impaired driver can be very expensive. And an injured individual may not be able to return to work for a long period of time, if ever.
At West Coast Trial Lawyers, our car accident lawyers have seen first-hand the damage (physical, mental, emotional, or financial) drunk driving in a car accident can do to innocent victims and their families. We are here to help the victims and their families recover fair compensation after an accident.
According to information compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA), almost thirty people are killed every day in drunk driving car accidents. On average, that’s one person killed every 48 minutes. In total, 10,000 lives are lost per year due to alcohol related crashes. To put things into perspective, in 2010, these deaths and subsequent damages totaled a collective cost of $44 billion.
Another very alarming statistic, courtesy of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, is that 28% of all traffic related deaths in the United States in 2016 were caused by alcohol impaired drivers.
There is no doubt that alcohol reduces overall brain function. There is, of course, a range in the severity of alcohol related effects which varies from person to person. But alcohol affects critical thinking, reasoning skills, and muscle coordination, which are all necessary tools to safely operate a vehicle.
Alcohol also affects the central nervous system, particularly as alcohol levels increase to higher levels within the body. The body absorbs alcohol directly through the stomach walls and the small intestine. It then enters the bloodstream and is immediately metabolized by the liver. A person’s alcohol level can be measured by the weight of alcohol present in a specific volume of blood. This is known as Blood Alcohol Concentration, or BAC. It’s also worth mentioning that the average person metabolizes alcohol at a rate of one drink per hour, yet this will vary depending on the individual.
Below is a table which illustrates the effects of alcohol by BAC:
Minor loss of judgment, relaxation, and slightly altered mood.
Reduced visual acuity and decline in ability to multitask.
Loss of small muscle control, impaired judgment, lowered alertness, decrease in inhibition.
Coordination suffers along with a reduced ability to track moving objects, steer a wheel, and respond to emergency situations.
Poor balance and impairment of speech, vision, reaction times, and hearing. Poor judgment and loss of self-control are evident.
Concentration is affected. Short term memory loss, reduced capability to process information, and impaired perception.
Significant deterioration of reaction times, slurred speech, poor coordination, and much slower thinking.
Inability to maintain lane position and stop a vehicle as needed.
Loss of muscle control, vomiting, and major loss of balance.
Substantial reduction of vehicle control and attention to driving related tasks; visual and auditory information processing suffers.
There is clear and ample evidence that the risk of being involved in a car crash greatly increases at a BAC of .08 grams and higher. Remember, it’s illegal in all 50 States to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher.
For obvious reasons, injuries suffered as a result of a drunk driver are generally more severe than in other car accidents. A driver under the influence of alcohol can easily lose control of their vehicle, resulting in head-on collisions, rollover accidents, and even collisions with innocent pedestrians. Some of the more common injuries caused by drunk driving accidents are:
Operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol is a serious and dangerous crime. Law enforcement comes down hard on drunk drivers, and tougher laws have been in place since the 1980s, yet many still choose to engage in this reckless behavior.
Charges for drunk driving will vary depending on the circumstances. They can range anywhere from a misdemeanor to a felony offense. Charges may include driver’s license revocation, expensive fines, and possible jail time. Fines alone can be extremely costly. A first-time offender can be ordered to pay over $10,000 in fines and legal fees, and that’s not including the social stigma attached to being found guilty of such reckless behavior.
Drunk driving is a serious crime. There’s no other way to put it. Some states have gone as far as to offer provisions for victims of drunk driving accidents to claim punitive damages, on top of the personal injury damages they may already be entitled to. Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant for his or her reckless behavior, and are also meant to send a clear message to the community that drunk driving will not be tolerated.
If you have sustained injuries as a result of a drunk driver, you have the right to hold that driver responsible. An attorney at our firm can help you recover financial compensation for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call us today at 213 927 3700 or email email@example.com. to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate legal team.